Thursday, August 2, 2012

It was on a Sunday

It was on a Sunday morning that Xerxes did not come down to the lower sheep shelter for breakfast.  It had to be serious.  Xerxes does not miss breakfast.

I let Xerxes and two of the ewes roam where they like on the fenced seven acres.  They sleep in the woods and browse as they like.  I had no idea in which direction to go hunting for him.  I figured that if he heard me calling him, he would make enough noise and so I would have a hint about where to start looking.  Neither of those so-called sheep dogs were giving me any help.  On the other hand, their complete lack of anxiety was reassuring.

I started hiking in a southeasterly direction and soon gave up.  My arthritis was not going to let me climb around the slopes.  Lunch came and went and still no Xerxes.  I tried to get help from friends but no one was reading their email, or they were out of town, or they were working a three-day shift.

Dinner came and went and still no Xerxes.  I sent email to Keith Hamm who usually works on the fences.  He was going to come out on Monday morning with a helper to fix the front gate of the sheep shelter.  Xerxes had smashed it in and broken one of the hinges.  Keith and Danny would also go look for Xerxes.

I had an anxious night.  But people with livestock and a lot of land to cover do the best they can.  And when Keith and Danny came, they found Xerxes right away, in the opposite direction of my hike.  He was entangled in fencing.  They cut him loose and he high tailed it for the feeder.  They had to corral him and catch him again because he still had wire around his neck and one leg.

Xerxes is generally a calm guy and he lay without struggling while Keith held him down by the horns and Danny carefully clipped away at the wire.  At last, Xerxes was free.

He has been fine.  His appetite has not been affected.  He is back to bashing the gate.

Sometimes a very young am with horns will get his horns caught in the field fence but Xerxes is almost two years old and has never done that.  I did once have a ram that did this a number of times.  Each time I had to hike up a steep slope and cut him free and then had to patch up the fence that I had had to cut.  I got so disgusted with this that I told him in no uncertain terms in my most annoyed-mother tone that if he did that one more time, he was going to the you-know-where USDA approved facility.

He never did it again.

I have no idea how Xerxes got stuck in the fence.  Maybe something spooked him and he ran into it, became more frightened, and then could not get out.  But however that happened, I don't think he will get into it again.  Besides, he is supposed to go to a new home soon.  There was a very pretty boy born on the farm this April.  I want to keep only one ram and have decided to keep this new guy, who will be named Hobbes.  His fleece is spotted and has a lot of crimp.

And he hasn't bashed in any gates yet or caught his horns in any fencing.

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